Sylvia's Jewish-born parents had converted to Christianity as young adults, and Sylvia was raised in the Christian tradition. Mr. Winawer was a successful lawyer and the family lived in an apartment in the center of Warsaw. Sylvia's mother collected art.
1933-39: I attended a private school run by the Lutheran Church, and I loved my school and my classmates. When I was 9, my parents brought me the most wonderful "present"--a new sister! Two years later life changed when the Germans invaded Poland and reached Warsaw in September 1939.
1940-44: In October 1940 the Germans forced our family to move to the Warsaw ghetto. In the ghetto I gave lessons in the third grade curriculum to an orphan girl named Feiga, and I grew very close to her. But she was so poor that she was taken to an orphanage in the ghetto. I was very sad when Feiga and all the children of the orphanage, as well as the director of the orphanage, Dr. Janusz Korczak, were deported from the ghetto in 1942.
Sylvia and her parents escaped from the Warsaw ghetto and survived the war. Sylvia later learned that Feiga had been killed at the Treblinka extermination camp in 1942.